tv [untitled] December 12, 2014 11:00pm-11:31pm PST
perception. this modest request is going to potentially allow a very good family in laurel heights area to stay in san francisco. my wife and ana maria went to the laurel heights improvement association about this specific request. they were told that had they asked first they would fully support this assignment. so i find if very hard to believe that because their decision-making process was based upon who asked first really has a negative view about this project. thank you. >> thank you. is there additional public comment? okay. seeing none, dr requester you have a two-minute rebuttal.
. >> thank you. i just submitted the 12 letters of opposition to the project including from the suzuki family, whose garden is right behind it and the louie family who is next to me. i'm on the executive committee and the laurel height as the association did not say it had anything to do who was there first, because they would have told me. i didn't get to mention that he wants to expand on the second floor and wants to deem the second floor non-conforming and bring a deck out to encroach into the year regard. that is an intensification of the non-conforming floor and he is trying to have his cake and eat it too. so the deck should be taken out, because that is an enlargement of the non-conforming on the second floor. now he has got 505 square feet he wants to add about 370 for 00.
900 and that is bigger than your norman normal apartment. he is going to cut down a couple hundred of feet and still have 600, which is just as big as anything. and clearly, in your memorandum, staff indicated that this was the non-conforming apartment. here is the [prao*-epl/] application. they didn't check the deck and the architect knows how to minimize things. he has got quite a large apartment now. he has already has a bed and doesn't use it and says that the merging would allow for better use and access to the downstairs space and allow the family to better utilize it. it's really not critical and your prior document, which i cannot find definitely said that the bottom one was the non-conforming. the code doesn't talk about designating it at all.
the non-conforming space is the last one in. and so this is basically they are just letting him to do whatever he wants to do. here it is. >> thank you. >> your two minutes are up. >> if you could please have a seat towards the front, in case commissioners need to ask questions. >> sure. >> thank you. >> project [spo-epbs/], sponsor, you have a two-minute rebuttal? >> instructor: don't really have a rebuttal. i think the planning staff that is here can adequate answer to the planning code. i think you have heard a lot of interpretations, but they are probably the best ones to answer definitively. >> thank you. >> hearing that, the public hearing portion is closed. commissioner moore. >> i would like to ask the
architect, why you didn't consider coming in with a complete remodel and expansion of the lower unit on its own? because what is in front of us is the same set of drawings that we had when we approved -- when we considered your unit merger and for the obvious reasons that didn't fly. but between then and now, and just by coincidence i saved the old set. nothing new has been added except expanding one more to indeed enclose a stair, which in and of itself doesn't serve any purpose. would you talk a little bit to the idea why the stair is to be there? the lower unit did and will have an external, completely independent access, so the internal stair is not at all necessary. >> it's not necessary, it's a great accessory to getting from the garage up to the unit. there is also access to the laundry, which is now enclosed
in the vestibule there. >> i would disagree with you on that, because you have the common stair, which is the external stair that gets you out of every unit right in front of your washing machine and literally was in steps away from your car. so i'm really wondering are the stairs extensive and require quite a bit of space and for me, it's a little bit disingenuinous to see the same stair because this commission and i'm talking about other builds that expand, we see a stair, which does not clearly separate the function of the intended use, that we basically are saying you need to have in the lower unit completely independent. and since, just by coincidence this came in as a merger and the drawings haven't been changed i think the logic of leaving the stair is a little bit difficult for me to fully
accept. because going to the laundry or going to the garage with the amount of stairs that are already there isn't really a logic i can buy. >> understood. >> i just want to say that, and also, kind of let you know that with no reworking of the plan, including the furnishings on the inside, this whole story does not carry. you are an architect and you have been around and you know the sensitivities and you had enough time to reconfigure and work on the unit, unless you are coming forward and applying for an independent cu to create really two independent units. >> we didn't feel like it was necessary to redesign everything. we complied with the planning code to create separate, independent units and that is the intention, is to continue to have them as independent units. we put a kitchen in there and have doors that separate out the units and have separate
entries. >> well, they are not independent to the extent that the vestibule for the lower unit is indeed a private space and it a fully functioning unit and by coincidence, the upstairs neighbors want to come down and access the washing machine or their car. that for me is kind of a little bit of a giveaway for a quality independent unit on the lower floor. >> commissioner richards. >> i want to go on record as supporting families in the city and i support legal expansions of residences where we can to keep families in the city. i guess the question i have for staff, there were a lot of bulletins and planning code items cited in the documents that were given us. is there anything that is materially factual inaccurate that jumps out at you? anybody? >> good evening commissioners,
corey teague, there are a couple of issues brought up, one was about whether or not the ground floor unit specifically out of the three in the building is the non-conforming unit out of all of the units? this notion that because it was last one added is therefore the non-conforming units. that is not actually the case. when all three units were added even if they were added at different times they were all conforming. at eight later date they all become non-conforming at same time, essentially and there is nothing in the code that is correct about which unit -- which units of density are the non-conforming units and that is why it falls to the owner once they become non-conforming to designate which are
non-conforming and at that point they are treated as such. that goes into the issue of can they be moved around in the future? that doesn't gently happen. it's not impossible. but the onus would be on the property owner to demonstrate that if you are changing which non-conforming unit, that you are changing it to a units that has not changed or basically has been treated as a non-conforming unite since the original designation. specifically about expansion, that was raised as well. you may remember a year or so ago there was one before you passed by the board of supervisors dealing with residential mergers and dwelling unit conversions and another housing-related legislation and one of the chings had came out of that was the non-conforming unit or a non-conforming unit or units within a building could be expand as along as they stayed within the existing building envelope as of january, 2013.
so can expand the units as along as you stay with within the building envelope. lastly the planning code doesn't address it specifically, but it has been the interpretation long standing that the addition of a deck is not considered an expansion of the non-conforming unit because it is not habitable space. it's not gross floor area. so usually it's an amenity to the often non-conforming units don't have a lot of open space because they are over density. so that -- i think that answers a few of the questions. >> i have one more about the fact that you put a staircase in and you have a door on both ends accessible as commission moore to the washing machine and the car, et cetera. would that be in your mind considered an independent unit? >> well, if they have -- if they have had independent entry to the exterior, which these do, i think this issue is more of a design and intent issue and less of a code issue.
>> thank you. >> if feels like a dwelling units merger to be honest with you. we had the issue with the cu on mission street where they wanted to turn a unit into a business. we had the dr on cesar chavez where they wanted to take the kitchen and 26 upand clement upheld by the bdr and made the same arguments about building more family housing versus having two smaller units. it still feels like a merge unit to me. >> commission antonini. >> i support staff's position. i don't support the dr, but i have to agree with some of the comments by project sponsor that you are backing this family into a catch-22 situation. i mean, you have zoning laws. this happens to be rh2 and they are trying to become more conforming by merging the units. and eliminating the problem of
whether they are enlarging a non-conforming unit or not? but then when they try to do that, you tell them they can't and now you are saying we want you to run outside to get into the other unit that you are use fog our own purposes which i'll not quite sure how all of this is constitutional. you should be able to use your own property that you are occupying in the way that suits your needs? it's not their problem that somebody decided to throw an in-law in in 1973. one of the dr requester's attorneys spoke about five unites being the same since 1948 and you think they are the same and they are all two units except for this one, where they put another unit in there. so i mean this a neighborhood of one unit or two-unit builds and not a neighborhood that has a lot of multiples. however, merger is not before us. all you will do by taking dr and disapprove it is make it more difficult for this family trying to stay in san francisco and trying to be comfortable
with two young children and have enough space that they can live well. it's never going to be a rental. it hasn't been rented since they own it and it's just foolishness taking this position without allowing these people to at least enlarge the lower unit to make it a little bit more family-friendly, even if they have to run around because we won't let them eliminate parts of it that they don't need. so i'm in favor of not taking dr and approving the project. >> commissioner hillis? >> so we talked -- the question of the stair, i don't have any problem with the expansion. i think it makes sense. you know, if you are going to stand a unit, this is unit you are going to expand, if you expand the top two units and leave this as the non-conforming unit, you are creating kind of a cave down there. what about just eliminating the stair, the internal kind of stair? i think that would? >> can i address it? >> yes. >> i think if that is the only way the commission would
support it, we would do that. i would like to oasis suggest adding a stair in the future doesn't require planning approval. it would not change the designation of two units or three units and would not require a merger. it's still three units either way without the stair or was the stair. it adds convenience for my clients, but what is critical here is to get expansion pore their living space. >> okay. i think that would be any preference to take dr and remove the stair and approve the project. >> is that a motion? >> yes. >> thank you. >> second. >> commissioner moore? >> this is an extreme case and i would still like zoning administrator sanchez to come back and fill us in a little bit of where some of these oversights were or where people come forward and they are not inexperienced people, we have to all admit that, come forward
and point to issues in the code, that we are either not using frequently, or aren't versed with? we're very clear about the internal stairs. mr. lindsey, director rahm secretary ionin, commissioner antonini, and all of the commissioners who have been here for the last three, four, five, seven, eight, nine years plus have gone through this internal stair thing many, many times. and we have altered projects or sent them back when that stair was not clearly indicating that indeed an additional unit was being used on its own. and this is basically the issue here. so i would like to go back and have a zoning administrator take us one more time through some of the points
raised by mr. vincensi and also be consistent in our attitudes toward internal stairs. >> i would like to make one more quick clarification, but the idea of the [kph*-upb/] communicating door. i know that commissioner richards asked about clarification to the dr requester's questions and when the communicating door concept is typically used when you have people who have purchased condos that are side-by-side and they open up one of the communicating walls between those two units. that is where the idea of the communicating door comes in. it's not through creating a stairway and a communal space such as what is happening on this project. i just wanted to clarify that. >> i would like to make one additional comment and thank you for saying what you just explained. the amount of square footage, which would be saved by taking out of stair, and the circulation space, including
some of the extra closets with the stair space is almost as large as a bathroom with two things a toilet and a tub. that is a large square footage when it comes to designing small units. so i believe that we're talking about constrained spacious wanting it make the unit larger, it should be sketched out of what the applicant has in mind? because it will alter certain things. i think we can ask that the applicant comes back and shows us what he is trying to do. i think it's very difficult to just say eliminate the stair, if you look at the space that is designated to bringing the stair down and what else it takes in terms of landing and door swing and cabinets. it's a large space. i would like to see how that alters the unit? because we're
aproving a change here, which i would like to see before i put my full yes behind it. i'm in support of eliminating the stair, but i would like to see what they are trying to do i would like to ask for a continuance. it could be a couple of weeks, if the architect already has an idea how he is going to do it it would take a very small amount of time. >> second. >> commissioners, if you do continue it will probably be into the new year. january 8th is already full of drs. potentially january 15th. >> fine. so there is a motion that has been seconded to continue to january 15th. >> yes. >> can i ask first, mr. teague
to comment on what process this has taken in the past? if we wanted to make this kind of change, is there a more maldive procedure to go to? clearly commissioner moore has put one option forward, but is there another option? >> i'm not sure i am understanding what type of change you are referring to? i apologize. >> removing the stair. >> you mean the specific change to this project? >> i'm sorry, i thought you meant a more holistic change to this project. this project specifically you are talking about the stairs? >> yes >> and if after the fact, could the stairs be added? i'm not sure if i'm following. >> i'm asking about follow-up. so if the commission said we want you to remove the stair, how normally would staff follow-up on ensuring that those design changes were made? >> oh, i understand. so generally whenever the
commission takes an action on a discretionary review, there is a memo drafted that outlines the conditions or the reasons behind the action. and then any boiling permit that was the subject of that dr is reviewed to make sure it's consistent with that. and that is a public document and obviously if it wasn't consistent with that, that would need to be connected. if there was an error in the future. >> okay. thank you. >> sure. >> and then i believe project sponsor maybe had some information about a continuance date that seemed like it could be problematic. >> i don't think we would like to have a continuance. we can take out of stair and redesign it with staff's approval and make sure there is a better solution to making sure these things aren't combined. but we do have a code-compliant project before you. >> okay. thank you. >> commissioner antonini. >> i would agree with project sponsor. i mean, as was pointed out, they have to be approved
afterward and it has to be signed off by dbi if it's conformity with what we have asked them to do. so exactly how they do that, removing the stairs is the only thing we're asking. we don't need a redesign of closets or anything else here. so i would be answer any continue against a continuance and we ought to get this finished and let them go on with their lives. i have another question that is an important point. we're not talking about the merger, but when staff wasn't supportive of the merger, all of these different criteria came up, with conforming in the density and conforming and no renterers and conforming owner-occupied and number of bedrooms and says the new project will have three. the present unit two bedrooms op the one unit and studio in the little downstairs in-law unit. now is a studio living room
consider a bedroom or not? staff is apparently saying that it is because they are saying that the new project doesn't have more bedrooms than was the case before. what is the interpretation of what a "bedroom" is? >> i don't know there needs to be an [tp-erpgs/] on what a "bedroom" is and the department of building inspection has their requirements of what a "bedroom" is. "bedroom" you can have a studio with sleeping space in it and one-bedroom apartment with a separate area from living/dining and other area. i have to admit i'm not entirely clear on the questioning. >> when you or another member of the staff did not -- said the project does not -- is not conforming by adding more bedrooms, because you claimed that in your report, that there
were already three bedrooms. there were two bedrooms on the top and a studio room, which is being used as a bedroom on the bottom. so therefore, i thought i interpreted it to be three afterward, two before. and that is important, because we have to know the rules we're playing with. and if it was, in fact, now three bedrooms and the new version, then they do create more bedrooms, which is one of the criteria for approving a merger. >> that is correct. they would have more bedrooms now, but we're not talking about a merger. >> i know we're not, but it's an important point to make because i want to set a precedent, so we don't get misinterpretations by staff in the future. i'm not saying intentionally, but that is not the way i would have interpreted. it it may have been aprovable administratively. >> without the expansion. >> without the expansion, yes. thank you.
>> you are welcome. >> thank you. commissioner moore. >> i was asking the director as to whether or not the shift in the stair and the change on the second floor unit is substantive enough of a change to bring it back? i personally don't like verbal changes and plans and not see what it looks like. that is just me. the director seems to say, if i may quote you, please -- >> if the commission removes the stair, then what staff gets the project for a building permit, the stair will be removed. that is not what is causing the non-compliance, the non-compliance it's a third unit and it doesn't matter if it's a stair there. it's an rh2 district and the third unit is not complying. >> i &%fo that, just like when we make changes we want to see that what we are approvinge is
something that we can stand behind. i do not like to design by words and i like to see things before i say yes to them. >> commissioners there is say motion and a second to take dr. however, the motion to continue takes precedence. on the motion to continue to january 15, commissioner antonini. >> no. >> commissioner hillis >> is snow. >> commissioner johnson. >> snow. >> commissioner moore. >> yes. >> commissioner richards. >> yes. >> commissioner fong? >> no. >> commission president wu. >> no. >> that motion fails 5-2. excuse me, 2-5. with commissions antonini, hillis, moore -- excuse me, antonini, hillis, johnson, fong and wu voting against. shall we take up the matter of taking drs? >> yes. >> so on the motion to take dr and eliminate the interior stair, commissioner s?
two overflow rooms it might take time for speakers to come in, and to call for public comment to give them an extra minute or two. >> could we please ask the sheriff for some crowd-control also. >> they were here, i will ask them again. >> thank you. so if the for members of the audience that are not in this room and are actually in the overflow rooms, when the commission chair asks for public comment, you can make your way into the room,
and line up on the screen-side of the door. or excuse me, on the screen-side of the room to submit your comment. and the order of presentation is staff, the dr requester, and then all those who are in opposition of the project, but in support of the dr request, then the project sponsor, and then those in support of the project. and then the dr requester and project [spo-epbs/]er get a two-minute rebuttal at the end as well. >> thank you. >> good evening plastic bag. the subject project is located at 461 27th street between knowee and sanchez streets in the south and southern portion of the noe valley neighborhood. the proposal to expand a single-family dwelling including raising a building 18 inch to create a full height lower level with garage
extensive interior remodeling, a new dormer on west slope and replace inkind of existing woodwinds and new horizontal addition at the rear. property is downsloping towards the rear line, which will make the structure three story overall at the rear of the proposed addition. it extends to the 45% required rear yard and beyond that a one story bump out extends it another 8' into the required rear yard as allowable -- as an allowable obstruction under section 1 36 of the code. the subject building currently is one of the shallowest in depth on this block and will be increased in square footage from 1600 to 3849 square feet. this written dimension has been corrected on the plans -- originally it had 3150 square
feet. the property constructed in 1905 was evaluated by the preservation staff and found to be a contributor to a district under ceqa. changes to the original design occurreds a result of the historic resource determination to adhere to the secretary of interiorase standards for rehabilitation. the project as revised meets all the preservation and planning code requirements and does not require further environmental review. because of the property has been found to be a resource, the property had stricter demolition requirements to retain the original cottage and thereto is not tantamount to demolition. at the time the packets were prepared, the department had received six letters in support of the project and 30 letters in opposition, including one from the upper noe neighbors group and a petition with 59 signatures. this included several residents on the south side of the duncan street